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from a greater distance and at a heavier expense. With the same view she formerly gave bounties also on the importation of masts, timber, deals, and staves, from the British Colonies in North America, which were only discontinued in the year 1781; and, in the same spirit, she now encourages that trade in British ships, by the protecting duties on timber imported from the Baltic in foreign ships. All these measures are considered, by our modern political economists, as great practical errors, as violations of their rule, to buy every thing where it can be bought cheapest. They would permit our fish, our coais, our timber, our colonial produce, and all other commodities, to be imported by foreigners. By this system they might, perhaps, make some saving in the freight of these articles, but it would be at the expense of that pearl of high price, our naval supremacy; for if we had no carrying trade we could have no seamen, if we had no seamen we could have no navy, if we had no navy we could have no security for maintaining our independence, but must run the risk of sinking into the situation of tributaries to some foreign power; and then we should find these cheap articles dear indeed. If the British lion, like the lion in the fable, will suffer his teeth to be drawn and his claws to be pared, he must expect, like bim, to have his brains knocked out for his folly. There is a false economy in public, as well as in private life. More considerations than the mere prime cost, enter into the question of, whether articles are really cheap or dear; and unless we value pounds, shillings, and pence, more than either our safety or our glory, we shall never adopt the estimates of these advisers.
Having thus noticed the different arguments that have been urged, in favor of the transfer of the timber trade from our own Colonies to the northern powers of Europe, I shall now point out the mischiefs that would attend this measure.
Official documents show, that this trade actually furnishes employment for one thousand five hundred and twenty-five sail of British vessels, manned with seventeen thousand six hundred and thirty-four seamen, being one_seventh part of the whole carrying trade of Great Britain. The loss of such a trade would produce the most serious effects at any time, but more particularly in the present state of this country. It would occasion such a farther depreciation, in the already dreadfully depreciated property of the British Ship Owners, as must involve them, and all those numerous bodies of men whose interests are intermingled with theirs, in absolute ruin. The consequences of the loss of our carrying trade in the Mediterranean, after the expedition against Algiers, showed themselves in the number of distressed seamen who wandered, without food or shelter, about our streets. Their pitiable state excited general commiseration, and
temporary relief was afforded them, by a liberal and patriotic subscription, till they were provided for in the following spring, by this very timber trade to the British Colonies. The loss of this trade would again plunge them into aggravated distress, and leave them without resource. They must either find employment abroad, and add to the naval force of foreign powers what they deducted from that of Great Britain,' or be maintained by their respective parishes, and thus increase the weight of our already enor, mous poor rates. Our exports to the British Colonies, which have kept pace with the increase of this trade, must dwindle into insignificance; and the manufacturers and artisans who now find occupation, and the means of subsistence for themselves and their families, in preparing goods for that market, will, like the seamen, be thrown out of employment, and must be maintained at the public expense.
The British landbolders also have a strong interest in this question. The present duties on foreign timber are not only a protection to colonial timber, but to British timber also, the price of which would fall, in proportion to the extent of the reduction on those duties. I have lately purchased British fir, at from 31. 55. to 31. 15s. per load, which is certainly not more than a remunerating price to the grower; and any farther reduction would discourage gentlemen from extending those plantations, which contribute to the present embellishment, and may be essential to the future defence of the country. The British landholder is as much entitled to protection aganst foreign timber as against foreign corn: and though the advocates for the system of buying every thing where they can buy it cheapest, wave the application of their principle to the Corn Laws for the present, yet, if they carry their point as to timber, they will establish a precedent against the landholder, of which they will avail themselves hereafter. Obsta principiis is a good maxim in politics as well as in medicine ; and if the landholders are wise, they will resist, in the first instance, any interference with that protection which they derive under the existing laws.
Another mischief would attend the proposed transfer of this trade, which 'ought not to escape notice. Our commerce with our own Colonies is under our own control, and independent of the decrees of any Emperor, or the non-intercourse act of any foreign power ; but that with other nations, depends only upon the will and pleasure of their respective governments, and by any change of policy on their part may be shut against us in a moment. In proportion as we extend the former we become independent; but in proportion as we extend the latter we become dependent; and (as the experience of the last war has tauglit us) expose ourselves to sudden revulsions, which may not only interrupt our national prosperity, but endanger our domestic tranquillity.
An evil of great magnitude, that would arise from the loss of the trade with the British Colonies, is the discouragement of emigration. Nothing can be of more importance to a country having a redundant population, without adequate means of employment at home, than to send her surplus numbers abroad, to situations where their labors will still contribute to her advantage. With this view, we voted, last session of Parliament, 50,0001, to assist individuals emigrating to the Cape of Good Hope; and this sum, I understand, has not only been expended, but exceeded, without providing means of conveyance for more than a small proportion of those who wished to embark for that destination. Within these few years, not less than fifty thousand individuals are said to have emigrated to Canada, at their own expense, and more are constantly embarking. . On this point I speak from actual knowledge; several families having gone, some time ago, from the place which I have the honor to represent, and from my having been employed within these few weeks to engage a passage for others, who have been induced by their representations to follow their example. I understand, too, that the tide of population, which ever follows encouragement, has set in very strongly to our Colonies, from the frontiers of the United States, since the establishment of this timber trade; and I firmly believe that, whether we shall establish in Canada a numerous, florishing, and well-affected population, able and willing to serve as an effectual barrier against the future ambition of the government of the United States; or whether we shall have a thin, distressed, and disaffected population, ready to submit to the first invader, depends upon the decision we shall come to on the present subject.
The House ought to know, that the existing duties on timber, so far from depriving the northern powers of Europe of a fair participation in this trade, and operating as prohibitory duties, actually give them a greater share of it than is enjoyed by our own Colonies, have moved for papers which will give full informațion on this head; but, in the mean tiine, I am enabled to state the comparative imports into the port of London, for the last year, which were as follows:
Pieces of timber from our American Colonies
52,412 58,994 812,699 1,622,440 1,236,095 1,897,902
From this comparison, the House may judge of the probable import into the other ports of the United Kingdom: and the conclusion to which it leads is, that nothing can be more unreasonable than the complaints of foreign powers, of those existing duties, which place them at least on an equal footing with our own Colonies. The complaint would come with more justice from the other parties, that we do not give them that full protection in our home market which, according to our colonial system, is the return to which they are entitled, for that double monopoly we impose upon them, of taking every thing from, and sending every thing to, the mother country, in British ships; thus making them marts for the consumption of her manufactures and the foundation of ber naval power. Even the most strenuous advocates for free trade have applauded this system. Dr. Adam Smith, speaking of our navigation law, says, " It is not impossible that some of the regulations of this famous act may have proceeded from national animosity; they are as wise, however, as if they had all been dictated by the most deliberate wisdom.” In a subsequent passage
. he observes, “the act of navigation is not favorable to foreign commerce, or to the growth of that opulence that can arise from it;" and, after explaining this point, he concludes thus : "As defence, however, is of much more importance than opulence, the act of navigation is, perhaps, the wisest of all the commercial regulatious of England.” This testimony is the more valuable, as coming from the mouth of an unwilling witness, one of the greatest opposers of all commercial restrictions; who, however, acknowledges, that every other consideration ought to give way to the paramount object of maintaining our naval supremacy.
Some foreign writers, of considerable eminence, have urged the same system that is now contended for by many of our own countrymen; the taking off all commercial restrictions, and throwing trade entirely open. One of them, a man whose views of commercial and colonial policy are equally acute and profound, I mean the Abbé de Pradt, avows his object to be, not to increase but to diminish our national prosperity, and to apportion it more equally among the other powers of Europe. He declares, that our colonial and commercial monopoly is so predominant, that it calls for a coalition of all other nations to put it down, as much as such a coalition was called for to put down the military despotism of Buonaparte. (1) He says, that our Colonies form a chain of fortresses that engirt the globe, and conmand the entrance of every sea ; that we confine all the other nations of the world captives in their respective positions, of which we, their gaoler, hold the key : (2) that our maritime superiority is so absolute, that unless the independence of the Colonies, and a free trade with them can be obtained, all Europe ought to burn their ships at once, as they are reserved for no other fate than to be carried in triumph into the Thames. (3) He lays down principles of colonial policy, shows that by conforming to them we have succeeded ; that other nations by deviating from them have failed ; and ascribes our prosperity to the superior wisdom of our political institutions. (4) Here, indeed, he differs widely from our friends at home, who would persuade us that they are founded in folly, and that the sooner we get rid of them the better : but, if the tree is to be known by its fruit, (as we are taught by High Authority to believe,) we must admit the Abbé de Pradt to have taken the more correct view of this subject. The Abbé, too, tells us, that we ought to consider all the world as one large family, and to throw all the commercial riches of the world into one common stock, into wbich every individual might put his hand, and take out just what he wanted for his own use.
(5) But, Sir, we are the parties who must contribute almost the whole of this common stock; and should recollect, that if so many hands are put into it, very little will come to our share. This proposal reminds me of one that was lately made by a certain set of gentlemen here, called Spencean Philosophers; who, having a great taste for agriculture, but no land of their own to try their experiments upon, modestly requested that all the land in the kingdom might be thrown into a common stuck, and equally divided among all the inhabitants. The motto of the standard under which we fight, Sir, is Dieu et mon droit. We must defend our rights and properties against all innovators, whether foreign or domestic; and I trust bis Majesty's Ministers will never be induced, either by solicitations on the one hand, or menaces on the other, (for the United States of America are at this moment trying to coerce us into the surrender of our carrying trade to our West India Colonies) to give up the great foundations of our wealth and power.
The exertions of the mercantile petitioners to whom I have so often alluded, may be most usefully directed to the removal of those restrictions, by which British commerce is at present cramped and confined, and to the giving it all possible scope and expansion; but let them not interfere with those wise and salutary restrictious upon foreigners, to which we owe the high rank we at present hold among the nations of Europe.
I shall conclude, Sir, by recommending the following words of that enlightened statesman, Lord Clarendon, to the serious consideration of his Majesty's Ministers.
“ They that shall be so honest and so wise as duly to maintain the laws, thriftily and providently to administer lhe public treasure, and to preserve the sovereignty of the seas—that ancient, true, and best defence of these realms--that body, whomsoever it may be